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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 1:12-20

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 21, 2013

This post opens with Fr. MacEvilly’s brief analysis of Colossians chapter 1 followed by his notes on verses 12-20. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the text he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

ANALYSIS OF COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 1

The Apostle commences this Epistle with the usual form of Apostolical salutation (Col 1:1, 2). In the next place, he gives thanks to God for the gifts of grace and the divine virtues of faith, hope, and charity, bestowed on the Colossians (Col 1:3–5). These gifts and virtues were to terminate in the enjoyment of the future blessings promised in the Gospel. From the mention of the Gospel, he takes occasion to confirm the doctrine preached to them by Epaphras, as a faithful minister of the Gospel. He prays that the Lord would grant, them a more perfect knowledge of his holy will, and strength and power to lead lives worthy of God, in the performance of good works, and the patient endurance of sufferings for his sake (Col 1:6–12).

The Apostle then renders thanks to God for the grace of faith, and the other blessings of redemption bestowed on all Christians; and from this, takes occasion to point out the attributes of Christ, and his superior excellence over the angels. He claims for him in a special way, the prerogatives of Creator and Redeemer, of which the heretics wishes to deprive him, by transferring them to the angels. The apostle, therefore, asserts, that he is the image of the invisible God—the Creator of all things, the angels included—the preserver, by his Providence, of all things created—the Redeemer of all men, Jews and Gentiles—the head of the Church—the reconciler of offended heaven with sinful man—the very fulness of the Divinity (Col 1:12–21).

He says that the Colossians will be partakers of the blessings of Redemption, provided they persevere in the faith announced to them, which is the same with that preached throughout the rest of the world. He declares himself to be appointed by the will of God a minister of the Gospel, in order to announce to the Gentiles a mystery hitherto concealed from them—a mystery for the fulfilment or accomplishment of which among the Gentiles, he cheerfully submits to suffering and privations of every kind (Col 1:22-29).

Col 1:12  Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:

We give thanks to God the Father, who, of his pure mercy and grace, has vouchsafed to make us sharers by the light of faith in the inheritance of the saints, which consists in light, or the beatific vision of God.

“Giving thanks to God the Father.” The Greek omits, God. Some persons connects this verse with verse 9, thus: “we cease not praying God to grant you this grace also of thanking him for having called you,” &c. According to the connexion in the Paraphrase, a new sentence is commenced, and St. Paul having concluded his petitions in the preceding verse, now thanks God for the benefits here enumerated. “The lot of the saints,” τοῦ κληρου τῶν ἁγ ων. Eternal life is called a “lot,” to express its gratuitousness, and the absence of strict claim on our part signified by the absence of a claim on the part of those who gain a thing by casting lots. And though we merit eternal life; still, it is primarily founded on grace. In crowning our merits, he only crowns his own gifts.—St. Augustine (from his Treatise ON GRACE AND FREE WILL). “In light.” The light of faith here, or the light of glory hereafter, by which we shall see God, face to face. “It may, however, denote both, as in Paraphrase.”

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,

Who has rescued us from the power of darkness, i.e., of demons and infidels, and translated us to the kingdom, i.e., the Church of his beloved Son here, which is the portal to the kingdom of heaven hereafter.

“Darkness,” taken in a moral sense in SS. Scripture, denotes evil; hence, it means here, the power of the devil, the prince of darkness. “The Son of his love,” a Hebraism, for his most beloved Son.

Col 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins:

 Through whom we have obtained redemption, which consists in the remission of our sins, and which he effected by giving his blood by way of ransom or price for us.

In the following verses the Apostle claims for Christ, the titles of Creator and Redeemer, the two grand prerogatives of which the Simonians attempted to deprive him, and which they wished to transfer to angels. In this verse, he claims for Him the title of Redeemer, upon which he dilates more fully at verse 20—after claiming for him the title of Creator in the intervening verses, 16, 17, 18, 19. The words “through his blood,” are not in the Douay-Rheims Version, made from the Sixtine Edition of the Vulgate, nor in the Codex Vaticanus, nor in MSS. or Versions generally.

Col 1:15  Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:

15. Who is the perfect image of the invisible God (having the same identical nature with Him), existing before any creature, having been begotten of the Father by an eternal generation.

Before asserting that he is Creator, the Apostle first claims for Christ the supreme attribute of Divinity, and the eternal Sonship of God. Others say, that the object of the Apostle in this verse is, to show the great benefits of Redemption from the exalted nature of the person by whom it was effected. Christ is the perfect delineation of that invisible God whom no one ever saw, and exhibits the perfect image which the person possessing the nature of God could alone exhibit. He was begotten of God by an eternal generation; hence, as far anterior to the EONS of the Gnostics in time, as he is superior to them in causality, which latter is shown in the following verse.

Col 1:16  For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers. All things were created by him and in him.

16. For by him were all things created in heaven and earth, both visible and invisible, men and angels of every rank and order—whether thrones or dominations, or principalities or powers, all things were created by him and unto him, i.e., for his glory.

In this verse is refuted the false doctrine of the Gnostics, who asserted that this material visible world was created by the ministry of angels. “Through him and in him.” In Greek, unto him, i.e., unto his glory.

Col 1:17  And he is before all: and by him all things consist.

17. And he is before all creatures, and in him, and through him, all things subsist and are preserved.

In this verse, the Apostle refers to the Divine attribute of Providence, whereby all created things are preserved. From this and the preceding verses, it is clear, that the “image,” εἰκων, referred to in verse 15, must regard the substantial image of God, and the possession of the divine nature; since of God only could it be said that all things were created “by him,” and “in him,” or unto him, as in the Greek, i.e., for his glory, as also that by his providence all things subsist and are preserved. And it was this God—born of the Father before all ages, begotten by eternal generation—his substantial image, by whom all things were made and are still preserved—that submitted to the ignominious tortures of the cross, for what?—to make atonement for the sins of his own creatures—the sins by which he himself was offended. He, though God, submits to tortures, which he could not merit, to free us, worms of earth, from the eternal tortures of the damned which we justly deserved. What excessive love! Sic amantem quis non redamaret. The Latin phrase is from the the famous hymn ADESTE FIDELIS and translates something like: Who would not return the love of one who has loved so much.

Col 1:18  And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may hold the primacy:

18. And this same person of whom we are treating as God, is, as man, the head of the Church, which is his mystical body; he is the principle and author of the resurrection, and is himself the first born, or first fruits of the dead, consecrating the resurrection of all by raising himself from the grave. So that whether viewed as God, or as man, he holds pre-eminence over all things created.

He now treats of him, as man; as such, he is the head of his mystical body, the Church—towards her, he exercises all the duties, which the relation of head imposes on him, governing and vivifying her by the continual influx of his graces. He is “the beginning,” which appears from the Greek, ὅς ἐστιν ἀρχὴ, to refer to the words immediately following, viz., “the first born from the dead.” Hence, it means, “he is the principle and author of the resurrection.”

Col 1:19  Because in him, it hath well pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell:

19. For, it has pleased God the Father, that in Christ, all fulness, all perfection of power necessary for him as head, to govern, and of grace, to vivify his body, should permanently and inseparably dwell, and essentially reside.

“All fulness,” i.e., all perfection of wisdom, grace, power, befitting him, as head of the Church. He has the fulness, not only of grace, but of divinity. “Should dwell,” perpetually, inseparably, and essentially. All grace befitting him as head, dwelt in him in the sense already explained, in order that from the head it would descend to the members, and that each might derive from him, as source, the graces necessary for his state and place in the body. The Greek word for “fulness,” πληρωμα, had a special significance, in the false system of the Gnostics.

Col 1:20  And through him to reconcile all things unto himself, making peace through the blood of his cross, both as to the things that are on earth and the things that are in heaven.

20. And it hath pleased the Father, to reconcile all things to himself through him—making peace, by the blood which he shed on the cross, between the angels in heaven and men on earth, between whose union under one common head, sin stood as an obstacle.

The Apostle again refers in this verse to the other great prerogative of Christ, viz., that of Redeemer, to which he alluded before (verse 14). “The things on earth, and the things in heaven.” He reconciled men and angels, and united them, hitherto so far dissevered from each other, under one common headship, having destroyed, by the blood which he shed on the cross, the chiefest obstacle to this union, viz., sin.

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Father MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 3:12-21

Posted by Dim Bulb on October 19, 2013

Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

Col 3:12  Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience:

Wherefore, as men elected by God, sanctified by Christ, and loved by him from eternity—put on the most lively feelings of compassion for your brethren, gentleness and sweetness of disposition, humility, modesty, patience.

As Christ alone is to be considered in this new man, the Apostle shows the duties they owe each other, and the acts of the new man whom he wishes them to put on. “The bowels,” i.e., the most tender feelings “of mercy.” In Greek, of mercies. The Vulgate is, however, generally adopted by critics.

Col 3:13  Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another. Even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.

Bearing with each other’s weakness and imperfections, pardoning and remitting to each other the injuries which you may have mutually to sustain, after the example of God, who has pardoned us our manifold sins and transgressions against him. Bishop MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse beyond the thoughts supplied by his paraphrase.

Col 3:14  But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection.

But above all things, have charity or love for one another, which is the most perfect bond of union.

“Which is the bond of perfection,” i.e., the most perfect bond of union. All other bonds of human society are imperfect and easily broken by the slightest provocation; charity is eternal and indissoluble.

Col 3:15  And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.

And may the peace of God, to which you were called, when you became one body, victoriously exult in your hearts, and be ye grateful for the past benefits of God.

“Of Christ.” In Greek, of God. “Rejoice.” The Greek word for which, βραβευέτω, means either to gain the prize of victory, or to award it; in the former acceptation, it refers to the persons engaged in the contest; in the latter, to the judges, who are to decide the struggle and award the prize. Here, then, according to this twofold acceptation, the words may mean:—May the peace which Christ brought from heaven, and to which the unity of the Church, of which we are members, obliges us, obtain the victory over all the adverse passions in your hearts. This is the more probable meaning. They may also mean: In all your differences may the decision be, not according to the dictates of passion, but of the peace of God. “Be ye thankful,” besides the meaning in the Paraphrase, may also mean, according to some Expositors—Be ye kind, courteous, and civil to one another; as this contributes much to peace. The Greek word, εὐχάριστοι, will admit this latter meaning, which also accords with the context.

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.

Let the doctrine of Christ permanently reside in you, so as that you may be filled with the abundance of all spiritual wisdom, teaching and instructing each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing the praises of God with joyous and grateful hearts.

He says that the doctrine and gospel of Christ should be engraved on our hearts, so as to dwell there and fill us with the abundance of true wisdom, which we may dispense to others. Hence, the word of God is to be read, not with hurry or precipitancy, but with reflection and meditation on its sacred truths, so as that it may “dwell” in us, and not rarely, but frequently, “abundantly.” Would to God, the meditation on the SS. Scriptures was substituted in place of those light and frivolous works of fancy, which poison and corrupt the mind! “Teaching … in Psalms,” &c. See Epistle to the Ephesians 5:19-20. “Singing in grace,” may either mean with thanksgiving, or in an agreeable, pleasing manner, so as to excite feelings of devotion “in your hearts.” In Greek, in your heart.

Col 3:17  All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Direct all your words and actions to the glory of God, invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and rendering thanks to God the Father through him.

To God.” In Greek, to the Lord. This verse contains a negative precept prohibiting us from offering our actions to God through angels, according to the corrupt notions of the heretics, who prefer them to Christ, as has been already explained, or from giving thanks through them, and indirectly commanding us to do so through Christ. He is the meritorious cause of the benefits which we enjoy, and through Him thanks should be given; it also contains a positive precept of referring our actions, occasionally, by a direct intention to God. The practice of referring them as frequently as possible is very commendable. For the rest—see 1 Cor 10:31.

Col 3:18  Wives, be subject to your husbands, as it behoveth in the Lord.

Women, be subject to your husbands, according to the will of God, and as far as the law of Christ permits.

“To your husbands.” In the Greek, to your (own) husbands, as if to withdraw their attention from any other men.

Col 3:19  Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter towards them.

Husbands, love your wives, and be neither morose towards them, nor provoking them to bitterness.Love your wives. Put your wives well-being and happiness before your own.Be not bitter. The Greek word πικραίνω (pikrainō) is used only here in the NT.

Col 3:20  Children, obey your parents in all things: for this is well pleasing to the Lord.

Children, obey your parents in all things; for such is the good will and pleasure of God.

“In all things,” not prohibited by the law of God. “For this is well pleasing to the Lord,” that is, this is pleasing to God as being his own precept.—(See Epistle to Ephes. chap. 6)

Col 3:21  Fathers, provoke not your children to indignation, lest they be discouraged.

And parents, do not, by undue and untimely severity, provoke to anger or exasperate the minds of your children, lest, falling into despondency, they cease to perform anything good.

Note the switch from “parents” in verses 20 to “fathers” here. The Jewish law severely mitigated a father’s authority over his children in comparison with the practice of other cultures of the time. “The law of the Romans gave absolute and full power to the father over his son (and his daughters), whether he thought it proper to incarcerate him, flog him, chain him, keep him toiling in the fields, or to put him to death. This power held even if the (adult) son belonged to the highest offices, or was noted for his love for the commonwealth” (Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Roman Antiquities, 2.26.4). 

In the ancient world a father had the right to decide if a new-born would live or die, and if his wife should abort. Girls were more likely to come down on the negative side of the father’s judgment. That attitude exhibited toward female children is witnessed to in this excerpt from an ancient letter written by a Pagan business man to his wife: “If you are delivered of a child [before I come home], if it is a boy, keep it, if a girl discard it.”

Jew were looked upon as “sinister and revolting” (Tacitus) for forbidding such practices. The early Church Fathers maintained the Jewish morality:

The Church Fathers were familiar with this line of thinking. In pagan Rome, a child did not achieve personhood until recognized by the head of the family, the father. When the mother had given birth, a midwife placed the child on the floor and summoned the father. He examined the child with his criteria of selection in mind.

Was the child his? If the man suspected his wife of adultery — ancient Rome’s favorite pastime — he might reject the child without so much as a glance.

If the child were an “odious daughter” (a common Roman phrase for female offspring), he would likely turn on his heel and leave the room.

If the child were “defective” in any way, he would do the same. As the philosopher Seneca said: “What is good must be set apart from what is good-for-nothing.”

Life or death? It all depended upon the will of a man. Human life began when the child was accepted into society. A man did not “have a child.” He “took a child.” The father “raised up” the child by picking it up from the floor.

Those non-persons who were left on the floor — while their mothers watched from a birthing chair — would be drowned immediately, or exposed to scavenging animals at the town dump.

Against these customs, the Church consistently taught that life begins at conception and should continue till natural death. In such matters, Christianity contradicted pagan mores on almost every point. What were virtuous acts to the Romans and Greeks — contraception, abortion, infanticide, suicide, euthanasia — were abominations to the Christians.

The papyrus trail is especially extensive for abortion, which is condemned by the Didache, the Epistle of Barnabas, and the Apocalypse of Peter; by Justin, Athenagoras, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Minucius Felix, Hippolytus, Origen, and Cyprian. And that partial list takes us only to the middle of the third century.

The earliest extrabiblical document, the Didache, begins with these words: “Two Ways there are, one of Life and one of Death, and there is a great difference between the Two Ways.” The Fathers converted their world from one Way to the other, and they were judged righteous.

Our last generations have perverted our world from one Way to another, and we too will be judged. But we can still do something, as our earliest Christian ancestors did, and we must. (source)

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 3:12-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

Col 3:12  Put ye on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, the bowels of mercy, benignity, humility, modesty, patience:

Wherefore, as men elected by God, sanctified by Christ, and loved by him from eternity—put on the most lively feelings of compassion for your brethren, gentleness and sweetness of disposition, humility, modesty, patience.

As Christ alone is to be considered in this new man, the Apostle shows the duties they owe each other, and the acts of the new man whom he wishes them to put on. “The bowels,” i.e., the most tender feelings “of mercy.” In Greek, of mercies. The Vulgate is, however, generally adopted by critics.

Col 3:13  Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any have a complaint against another. Even as the Lord hath forgiven you, so do you also.

Bearing with each other’s weakness and imperfections, pardoning and remitting to each other the injuries which you may have mutually to sustain, after the example of God, who has pardoned us our manifold sins and transgressions against him. Bishop MacEvilly offers no comment on this verse beyond the thoughts supplied by his paraphrase.

Col 3:14  But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection.

But above all things, have charity or love for one another, which is the most perfect bond of union.

“Which is the bond of perfection,” i.e., the most perfect bond of union. All other bonds of human society are imperfect and easily broken by the slightest provocation; charity is eternal and indissoluble.

Col 3:15  And let the peace of Christ rejoice in your hearts, wherein also you are called in one body: and be ye thankful.

And may the peace of God, to which you were called, when you became one body, victoriously exult in your hearts, and be ye grateful for the past benefits of God.

“Of Christ.” In Greek, of God. “Rejoice.” The Greek word for which, βραβευέτω, means either to gain the prize of victory, or to award it; in the former acceptation, it refers to the persons engaged in the contest; in the latter, to the judges, who are to decide the struggle and award the prize. Here, then, according to this twofold acceptation, the words may mean:—May the peace which Christ brought from heaven, and to which the unity of the Church, of which we are members, obliges us, obtain the victory over all the adverse passions in your hearts. This is the more probable meaning. They may also mean: In all your differences may the decision be, not according to the dictates of passion, but of the peace of God. “Be ye thankful,” besides the meaning in the Paraphrase, may also mean, according to some Expositors—Be ye kind, courteous, and civil to one another; as this contributes much to peace. The Greek word, εὐχάριστοι, will admit this latter meaning, which also accords with the context.

Col 3:16  Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly: in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles, singing in grace in your hearts to God.

Let the doctrine of Christ permanently reside in you, so as that you may be filled with the abundance of all spiritual wisdom, teaching and instructing each other in psalms, hymns, and spiritual canticles, singing the praises of God with joyous and grateful hearts.

He says that the doctrine and gospel of Christ should be engraved on our hearts, so as to dwell there and fill us with the abundance of true wisdom, which we may dispense to others. Hence, the word of God is to be read, not with hurry or precipitancy, but with reflection and meditation on its sacred truths, so as that it may “dwell” in us, and not rarely, but frequently, “abundantly.” Would to God, the meditation on the SS. Scriptures was substituted in place of those light and frivolous works of fancy, which poison and corrupt the mind! “Teaching … in Psalms,” &c. See Epistle to the Ephesians 5:19-20. “Singing in grace,” may either mean with thanksgiving, or in an agreeable, pleasing manner, so as to excite feelings of devotion “in your hearts.” In Greek, in your heart.

Col 3:17  All whatsoever you do in word or in work, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

Direct all your words and actions to the glory of God, invoking the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and rendering thanks to God the Father through him.

To God.” In Greek, to the Lord. This verse contains a negative precept prohibiting us from offering our actions to God through angels, according to the corrupt notions of the heretics, who prefer them to Christ, as has been already explained, or from giving thanks through them, and indirectly commanding us to do so through Christ. He is the meritorious cause of the benefits which we enjoy, and through Him thanks should be given; it also contains a positive precept of referring our actions, occasionally, by a direct intention to God. The practice of referring them as frequently as possible is very commendable. For the rest—see 1 Cor 10:31.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 1:24-2:3

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

Col 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church:

Who now rejoice in the sufferings, which I endure for your sake and for your good, because, by them I fill up and complete in the place of Christ these sufferings which he left to be endured for his mystical body, which is his Church.

“And fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ.” In this, it is by no means implied, that anything was wanting to the sufferings of Christ, as a sufficient atonement. This would be heretical; for, Christ made not only a sufficient, but also a superabundant atonement. But although Christ did this, and would even wish to submit to every kind of suffering, necessary for the formation and perfection of his Church; still, it was the will of God, that to his Apostles and the ministers of the gospel he would leave much to be endured for his Church, and that in his own place, as the Greek for “fulfil,” ανταναπληρω, implies. So that “wanting,” (ὐστερήματα, shortcomings), does not regard “the sufferings of Christ,” but wanting on the part of St. Paul to be endured for the Church. He, then, rejoices in having to undergo what was wanting to himself, or, on his own part, of the sufferings he was to have undergone for the Church, in quality of minister of Christ. Others, by “the sufferings of Christ,” understand the sufferings which St. Paul himself underwent. These he calls “the sufferings of Christ,” because Christ regards the sufferings of his members as his own, since they are parts of his mystical body. It was in this sense, he said to Saul, when persecuting his followers: “Saul, why persecutest thou me?” (Acts, 11:24). Hence, as Christ, while here on earth, suffered in his natural body; so, now in heaven will he suffer in his mystical body, in order to apply to us the fruits of his passion. In this interpretation, “the sufferings of Christ,” mean the sufferings which Christ endures in the members of his mystical body. This latter is the common interpretation; the former, nevertheless, appears the more probable.

Col 1:25 Whereof I am made a minister according to the dispensation of God, which is given me towards you, that I may fulfil the word of God:

 Of which mystical body, or Church, I am made a member, according to the wise dispensation of God, by which I am constituted the Apostle of you, Gentiles, and fulfil the promise of God regarding your vocation to the faith.

For the full meaning of this verse, see third chapter to the Ephesians.

Col 1:26 The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints,

Which vocation of the Gentiles is the mystery that has been hidden from all past ages and generations of men, but is now manifested to the Apostles and faithful of the new law.

“The riches of the glory of this mystery,” is fully expressed in the passage referred to, viz., that the Gentiles were to be made “fellow-heirs of the same body, and co-partners of his promise,” &c. (Col 3:6), “which is Christ,” which mystery, or, great secret has for object, all the leading events of our Blessed Redeemer’s life, death, and resurrection. He is the cause and fountain of our hope.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ, in you the hope of glory.

To whom God wished to make known how vast are the riches and the glory of this great secret which is accomplished among the Gentiles, which has for object, Christ, who is the cause of your hope of eternal glory.

Col 1:28 Whom we preach, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.

Whom we announce, rebuking every man living in ignorance and sin, and instructing every man in the perfect knowledge of God and of his mysteries, wherein consists true wisdom, so as to exhibit every man as possessing a perfect knowledge of the faith and gospel of Christ.

“Admonishing every man,” &c., i.e., every man that we can admonish, excluding no man, so as to be able to have every man within our reach, perfectly instructed in the mysteries of God. Happy the pastor of souls, who at judgment can exhibit those committed to his charge instructed in the necessary truths of faith! But how few are there who can meet death with this confidence—how many are there whose little ones cry for bread, without one to break it for them!

Col 1:29 Wherein also I labour, striving according to his working which he worketh in me in power.

In discharging this duty I labour strenuously, exerting myself according to the strength which Christ powerfully exercises in me.

“Which he worketh in me in power,” may mean, which he worketh, or which is worked in me, by the power of performing miraculous wonders, confirmatory of the doctrine preached, or, the strong internal virtue conferred on him by divine grace.

Col 2:1 FOR I would have you know what manner of care I have for you and for them that are at Laodicea and whosoever have not seen my face in the flesh:

For, I wish to make known to you my anxiety and solicitude for you and the people of Laodicea, and for all others, who, as well as you, have never seen me.

“For” is a connecting link between this and the last verse of the preceding chapter, as if he said: I have made mention of my labours and exertions, because I wish you to know the struggle I sustain for you.

“What manner of care.” In Greek, ἀγῶνα, what a struggle or contest. From this verse, it is commonly inferred that St. Paul, although he visited some part of Phrygia, had never been at Colossæ. Theodoret, however, comes to an opposite conclusion; but, his inference is very improbable.

Col 2:2 That their hearts may be comforted, being instructed in charity and unto all riches of fulness of understanding, unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father and of Christ Jesus:

The object of my labours, and anxious solicitude both for you and them is, that your hearts may be filled with spiritual consolation, having been firmly united by the bond of charity, and furnished with the most perfect and valuable knowledge, and firm persuasion regarding those truths, that appertain to the mysteries of the Trinity and the Incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The end and object of his anxiety was, to procure for them true spiritual consolation, which is acquired by being united in charity (for “instructed in charity,” the Greek is, συνβιβασθεντων, united, compacted, as joints are in a body); and also, by being introduced to, or furnished with, “all riches of fulness of understanding,” i.e., the fullest and most perfect knowledge and persuasion. The words, furnished with, introduced to, or some such expression, must be understood, to make full and perfect sense; it is implied in the foregoing Greek participle. “Unto the knowledge of the mystery of God the Father,” who is the principle of the Godhead, one in nature, and three in persons; “and of Jesus Christ;” in other words, regarding the two grand, fundamental mysteries of the Trinity and Incarnation—the two great points in which the Gnostics wished to corrupt the faith of the Colossians. Charity and perfect knowledge are means to obtain consolation. “Of God the Father,” &c. In Greek, of God and of the Father, and of Christ.

Col 2:3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

 In whom—the man God—are concealed, in such a way as never to be communicated to creatures, all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

“In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” “In whom,” as God and man. As God, his knowledge is infinite; and as man, he has the most perfect finite knowledge. “Are hid;” hid (ἀπόκρυφοι), is an adjective. “All the treasures” express the great abundance of this knowledge, &c. Nothing can escape him. In him they are “hid.” No creature can fully know them. The finite share which we are capable of comprehending, is known to us from revelation. From Christ, then, is to be obtained all that knowledge of which the Gnostics boasted, as their name implies, and for which they wished that recourse should be had to other sources than Christ.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 3:1-11

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

This post begins with the Bishop’s brief analysis of Ephesians 3 as a whole, followed by his notes on Ephesians 3:1-11. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. Text in red, if any, are my additions.

The Apostle had made a twofold assertion in verses 12 and 13 of the preceding chapter, viz., that the Colossians were buried with Christ in baptism, and had also risen with him. This twofold assertion he makes the ground of a twofold conclusion. Having already pointed out the conclusion to be drawn from their death in baptism from verse 20 of preceding chapter, he points out in this, the moral conclusion to be drawn from their spiritual resurrection, viz., that they should devote their entire thoughts to the things of heaven, and despise the things of earth (1, 2). They should despise earthly things, because dead to them, and love heavenly things, because raised to a heavenly life (3). He points out the glory which is to be the reward of this life of sanctity (4). In order to secure this heavenly glory, they should, therefore, mortify all the members of the old man of sin, all the vicious inclinations of the flesh, the heart, or the tongue, in one word, they should strip themselves of the old man with his deeds (5–9).

They should, after putting off the old man, put on the new with all his virtues, which relates to God, their neighbour, and themselves. With reference to God, they should conform to his image, by being renewed in the knowledge and love of him, in which spiritual renovation there is no distinction whatever of persons, or, conditions in life recognised by the Lord (10, 11). With reference to their neighbour, they should exhibit the new man in the most tender feelings of mercy—in bearing with his infirmities, in pardoning offences, and above all, in cultivating charity and peace (12–15). With reference to the duties they owed themselves, they should, by sedulous attention to the word of God, fill their minds with true wisdom; they should express their inward joy and preserve spiritual unction, by piously singing canticles and spiritual songs, rendering thanks to God, and referring all their actions to his glory through Christ (15, 16, 17).

He concludes by pointing out to several parties—viz., wives, children, and slaves, the duties of obedience which devolve upon them; while on husbands, parents, and masters, he enjoins also their correlative and reciprocal obligations (18-25).

Col 3:1  Therefore if you be risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.
Since, therefore, by baptism you have risen with Christ to a spiritual resurrection, seek and love the things that are above, that appertain to heaven, where Christ, after rising from the dead, is sitting at the right hand of God.
Col 3:2  Mind the things that are above, not the things that are upon the earth.
Have your minds and your thoughts fixed upon the things of heaven and not upon the things on earth.

1, 2. “If you be risen,” means: whereas, you are risen with Christ. In this verse, the Apostle draws his moral conclusion from their spiritual resurrection out of the grave of sin, of which their emersion from the waters of baptism was a type. It is this: that they should bestow their entire care and affections, and all their thoughts, on the things of heaven.

“Where Christ is sitting on the right hand,” &c. These words simply mean, that whereas Christ, as God, is equal to the Father; as man, he holds the most honourable place in heaven, being next to God in honour and glory, which is expressed by the Scripture, in accommodation to human conceptions, in the words—“Sitteth at the right hand of God.”

Col 3:3  For you are dead: and your life is hid with Christ in God.

You should have no concern about earthly things on the contrary, you should undervalue them, because you renounced all connection with them in baptism. But you should regard heavenly things, because by baptism you have received a heavenly life—a life now indeed unperceived by men, and hidden with Christ in God; but, it shall be seen at a future day.

In the foregoing verses, the Apostle made two assertions—viz., that the heavenly things were to be cared for, and the earthly, undervalued. He now assigns a reason for both. The immersion practised in baptism was a type of their burial, and consequently death to sin and the passions, which it effected at the same time, after the model of Christ’s death and burial. They, therefore, should have no more connexion with “the things upon the earth,” i.e., either the “elements of this world,” or the vices of the earth, which he enumerates (Col 3:5), or perhaps both, than the living have with the dead.—Secondly, the emersion from the waters of baptism was a type of their spiritual life and resurrection, which it also effected, after the model of Christ’s resurrection from the grave; hence, they should mind the things of heaven. But this spiritual life received by them in baptism is “hidden” from the eyes of worldlings “with Christ in God;” it shall, however, be manifested when Christ shall come to judge the world. How calculated are not these words of the Apostle to stimulate us to labour and suffer for eternal life, and have our thoughts fixed on heaven! We are called to eternal life; to the things that are above: our final resting-place, our country is heaven, we are enrolled, as citizens of heaven, where our fellow-citizens are waiting for us. Why, then, keep our thoughts fixed on this earth, this place of passage!—why, mere travellers, centre our affections on this inn, in which we are for a short time to reside, during the time that we are tending towards the lasting habitation, reserved for us in the vast and magnificent palaces of the King of Glory? “O Israel! how great is the house of God, and how vast the place of his possessions.”—(Baruch, 3:24). How frequently in our passage through life, during our sojourn in this land of banishment, should we not look forward to our lasting home, our true country in eternity, to which every moment brings us nearer, and how earnestly should we not labour to secure it!

Col 3:4  When Christ shall appear, who is your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory.

When Christ, in whom and of whom we hold this spiritual life, shall appear and shall manifest his glory, then, you shall appear glorious with him, and then this life, which is now hidden, shall be conspicuous to all.

Christ is both the efficient—the meritorious—the exemplary—and the final cause of our life of grace here, and of glory hereafter, and when he shall come to judge the world, then we shall appear glorious like him. “Your life.” In Greek, our life. The Vulgate is, however, supported by many manuscripts and Fathers, among the rest, by Saint Chrysostom.

Col 3:5  Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence and covetousness, which is the service of idols.

Mortify, therefore, the members, the depraved and wicked inclinations of your earthly and sinful man, which are, fornications, uncleanness, obscene passion, all wicked desires, and especially avarice, which is the worship of idols.

In order to appear one day thus glorious, “mortify your members which are upon earth.” In his Epistle to the Romans, the Apostle calls all sins taken collectively, the “body of sin” (Rom 6:6), and in the preceding chapter of this Epistle (Col 2:11), “the body (of the sins) of the flesh,” as also “the old man,” because as man, or the body of man, consists of different members; so, is the body of sin made up of different kinds of sin, as of so many members. He calls them “upon the earth,” because they fix our desires on earth, and withdraw us more from God. To the same he refers in verse 2:—“Not the things that are on the earth.” “Uncleanness,” all kinds of unclean acts; “lust,” every kind of abominable passion; … “avarice.” There is the same diversity of opinion regarding the meaning of this word here as in the Epistle to the Ephesians (Eph 5:6).

Col 3:6  For which things the wrath of God cometh upon the children of unbelief.

On account of which crimes the heavy anger and vengeance of God is in store for, and will at a future day be inflicted on, those who have no faith and disobeys the commands of God, prohibiting such crimes.

See Ephesians 5:6. Here is what Bishop MacEvilly wrote on that verse: “Cometh the anger of God.” The verb “cometh” has a future reference, and means, “the anger of God is in store for, and at a future day shall be poured out upon, “the children,” i.e., men of “unbelief,” of obstinate impersuasibility. The Greek word for “unbelief,” ἀπειθεία, means, contumacious, unreasoning rejection of a thing, without admitting a rational persuasion.

Col 3:7  In which you also walked some time, when you lived in them.

Which crimes you also committed formerly, when you lived in the habitual indulgence of your wicked passions.

“Walked,” and “lived,” differ in this, that the former refers to acts; the latter, to the habitual commission of such sins.

Col 3:8  But now put you also all away: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy speech out of your mouth.

But now lay aside not only these more grievous crimes, but also these others of lesser enormity, which you have also committed—viz., all angry excitement, all desires of revenge, all evil dispositions to injure your neighbour, all reproachful and insulting language towards him, all obscene and immodest expressions.

“But now lay you also away;” lay aside the following sins of lesser enormity, as well as the preceding more grievous ones; or “also,” may mean, lay aside these other sins in which you also lived. Both meanings are united in the Paraphrase … “Blasphemy,” here means, insulting and opprobrious language towards our neighbour. “Blasphemy,” strictly speaking, which is committed against God, is a most grievous crime, and would have been classed with the preceding.

Col 3:9  Lie not one to another: stripping yourselves of the old man with his deeds,

Lay aside all lies in your language, and all fraud in your dealings with one another. Entirely put off the old man with his wicked deeds.

Lay aside all lying in your words, all frauds and circumvention in your dealings with each other. “Stripping yourselves of the old man with his deeds.” In the Greek, ἀπεκδυσάμενοι, having stripped yourselves, &c., which may mean, cast away the foregoing vices which are members of the old man of sin whom you have put away at your baptism; or, as in Paraphrase, it may be the commencement of a new sentence, thus:—In a word, I exhort you to put off the old man with his acts.

Col 3:10  And putting on the new, him who is renewed unto knowledge, according to the image of him that created him.

And put on the new man with his virtues, I say, that new man, who by the knowledge of revealed mysteries and of spiritual things, is renewed according to the image of God his Creator.

“And putting on the new.” There is the same diversity is the Greek in this as well as in the preceding verse—“And having put on the new.” “Who is renewed into knowledge,” i.e., which new man receives a new existence, after the image of God, his Creator; for, as man was naturally created after the likeness and image of God, which consisted in his intellect and will; so, in his second birth, or creation by grace, he is formed after the image and likeness of God, which image of grace consists in sanctity and justice.—(Eph 4:24). For the meaning of “old man” and “new man,” and “putting on” the one, and “putting off” the other.—(See Ephesian 4:22–25)

Col 3:11  Where there is neither Gentile nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian nor Scythian, bond nor free. But Christ is all and in all.

In which affair of spiritual renovation, there is no distinction of Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, of barbarian or—of worse than barbarian—of Scythian, of slave, or freeman, but Christ confers all Christian blessings, grace, sanctification, &c., on every description of men without distinction.

“Where,” i.e., in which affair of spiritual renovation, or, in which new man, there is no regard paid to the circumstances of birth, nation, dignity, &c.; because Christ is all in all; he is justice, sanctity, and everything good in all who are thus renewed. The only thing regarded in it is, how far you have communicated with Christ. In this new man, the circumstances of country and condition are confounded; in him Christ alone is to be attended to. “Nor Scythian;” the most barbarous of the barbarians. The antithesis between “Scythian” and “barbarian,” is not between barbarism and civilization, but between a lesser and greater degree of barbarism—the Scythians being reputed, in the days of St. Paul, the greatest barbarians. Others maintain the reverse, and contend that the Scythians were the most polished and civilized among ancient peoples. In this latter opinion, the force of the atithesis is quite clear.

 

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Colossians 3:1-17

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

In this chapter the Apostle exhorts the Colossian Christians to mortify the desires of the body, and put on the new life and character of the religion they have embraced ; and adds special injunctions for wives and husbands, children and parents, servants and masters.

1Therefore if you rose together with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, sitting at God s right hand.
2. Mind the things that are above, not those on earth.
3. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
4. When Christ shall appear, your life, then you also shall appear with him in glory.

In Col 2:12, Saint Paul said that in Baptism we died with Christ, and rose again. And in Col 2:20 he said, if you died with Christ, why, as if still living in the world, do you regulate your lives by the principles of a mundane philosophy ? Here he adds (Col 3:1-2), since with Christ you rose to a
life spiritual and divine, seek not the pleasures and advantages of earth, but the eternal joy of heaven, where Christ sits at God’s right hand. Christ as God is the equal of the Father in majesty; as man, he is second to him. And the Scripture, using human language in condescension to our ideas, expresses this by saying, that he sits at God’s right hand. The phrase is of very frequent occurrence, being used by Saint Paul Rom. 8:34, Heb. 1:3, 8:1, 12:22, by Saint Mark 16:19, by Saint Peter Act 2:33, 1 Pet. 3:22, and by Saint Stephen, Acts 7:56. It signifies the highest place of honour, grace, and glory. Mind therefore,  things that are above, love, hope for, meditate on, set your affections on, the things above. Sursum corda (lift up your hearts), love heaven, not earth. For you died (Col 3:3), not you are dead. Christ died, but is not dead; on the contrary, his life is hidden in God. But he died to earth, and the life he lives, the life you live in him now by grace, and the life you shall live with him in glory in eternity, is hidden from the eyes of men. Hidden in the heart of God, its birthplace and its home. The holy angels know and honour it, but men despise it; the world knoweth us not, 1 Jn 3:1. Yet one day it shall be revealed in the sight of all men (Col 3:4), when Christ, who is your life, shall appear, and then you also shall appear with him in glory. For we know, Saint John says, that when he appears, we shall be like him (1 Jn 3:3). Like him in the glory in which he sits at God s right hand; like him in mind, through an express image of God, or by the word of the mind, which is like God, and exactly represents him; like him in quality, holy, blessed, immortal, impassible, glorious, the body of our humility being made like the body of the splendour of Christ. Then we shall know the nobility, grandeur, and felicity of the sons of God.

5. Mortify therefore your members which are upon earth: fornication, uncleanness, lust, evil concupiscence, and avarice, which is the service of images.
6. For which the anger of God is coming upon the sons of incredulity.
7. In which you also at one time walked, when you lived in them.

Saint Paul here uses the word membra (members) in a figurative sense. In the Christian there are two men, one of earth, that is Adam, from whom he inherits a nature subject to concupiscence; the other from heaven, Christ our Lord, through whom he is regenerate, into whom he is grafted, and who lives in him by grace. The members of the earthly man are vices and evil desires; Christian graces are members of the heavenly. For the growth to maturity of the heavenly man, the earthly man must perish; the death of the one is the life of the other. In Baptism the earthly man began to die; by mortification his death is daily carried out. In Baptism
he died to sin, and sin was for the past remitted, for the future renounced, but concupiscence, the root of sin, remained, and this must be eradicated by mortification. The members of the earthly man are the various sins which Saint Paul proceeds to classify, simple fornication, defilement of the body, degrading passions of the soul, generally all desire of evil things, and avarice, by which last term Saint Jerome understands an insatiable desire of carnal pleasure. This the Apostle says is idol-worship, either because the idolatry of those days fostered it, or because wicked desires become like idol-deities, to the service of which the soul is enthralled. On account of these things, he adds, the wrath of God is coming upon sons of unbelief (Col 3:6). The same statement occurs in Eph. 5:6, and it may possibly be a prediction of the earthquake by
which the cities of Colossae and Laodicea, and others in the neighbourhood, were shortly afterwards overthrown, as observed in the preface. It is evident that what the Apostle here denounces is not any occasional fall from holiness on the part of believers in Christ, but the shocking ethical system of the heretics, which inculcated and counselled systematic rebellion against the commands of the Creator of the world, whom they denounced as an evil demon. In these things, the Apostle says, you at one time walked (Col 3:7), while you were pagans, before your conversion to the Christian faith. He says this, St. Chrysostom remarks, to put them to shame, but in order to soften the severity of his words immediately adds, while you lived in them, which you do not now, having changed your manner of life.

8. But now do you lay aside also all: anger, indignation, malice, blasphemy, filthy language from your mouth.
9. Do not lie one to another, stripping yourselves of the old man with his deeds.
10. And putting on the new, him who is renewed to know ledge, according to the image of him who created him.
11. Where is not Gentile and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, Barbarian and Scythian, slave and free, but all and in all Christ.
12. Put you on, therefore, as elect of God holy and beloved bowels of mercy, kindness, humility, modesty, patience;
13. Bearing with one another and forgiving one another, if any against any has complaint; as the Lord forgave you so also do you.
14- But above all these things have charity, which is the bond of perfection,
15. And let the peace of Christ exult in your hearts, in which also you were called in one body: and be grateful.
16. Let the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, in grace singing in your hearts to God.
17. All you do in word or work, all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, giving thanks to the God and Father through him.

(Col 3:8) Not only those graver sins in which you no longer live, are to be laid aside, but also minor faults against God and your neighbour, anger, malice, and violent and unseemly language. (Col 3:9-10) See the note on Eph. 4:31, and that on Eph. 4:22, 24, as to the distinction drawn by the Apostle between the old and the new man. The Greek has, now that you have put off the old man, and put on the new, that is, in your Christian profession. For as the faults and vices of the pagan life are the result and outcome of the influence of the evil spirit which dwells within the heart, so the graces of the Christian life will, if encouraged, grow from the presence of Christ within the soul. But, as the reading of the Vulgate would imply, the old tendencies, having still their root in human nature, and possibly in habit, will still have to be repressed, and the Christian life daily renewed and carefully cultivated. The new man is renewed, according to the Syriac, through knowledge, according to the likeness of Him who made him. By learning more and more of the character of God, through communion with Him, the Christian grows into his likeness. The Greek and the Vulgate read renewed into knowledge, advances continually in the knowledge of God, and consequently in his likeness. This likeness of God is the perfection of man’s nature, not following any special or particular type, or nationality, or class (Col 3:11); its model or pattern is not Gentile or Jew, Greek or barbarian, civilised or savage, slave or free; but wholly Christ, and Christ in all. The mention of Scythians suggests the possibility that, as it is known that these people had formerly invaded Western Asia, there may have been traces or traditions of a colony of them in Phrygia. Your real nationality, whatever it was originally, and your real state and condition, whatever it may be by the provisions of human law, is now the elect people of God, holy, and beloved of God, of angels, and of saints. Therefore put on (Col 3:12), or exhibit in your life and conversation, the characteristics of this condition, mercy and kindliness, humility and patience, bearing with and forgiving the faults and imperfections of one another (Col 3:13), since you have so many of your own. Forgive, as the Lord (the Greek has, Christ) forgave you. Above all, have charity (Col 3:14). The Greek has no verb, supplying put on from the previous sentence. Above all, because it is the highest grace. Charity is the love of God, and of man for God s sake, and this is the highest motive for affection, for kindness, and well doing. The bond of perfection is a Hebraism for the most perfect bond, that which binds the souls of men together by the noblest and truest bond, the relation they bear to their Creator. And let the peace of Christ exult in your hearts (Col 3:15). The Greek verb βραβευετω (translated above as “exult”) might either mean, as the Vulgate understands it, carry off the prize of victory, be victorious over anger, or dissension, or cupidity, or pride. Or it may mean, adjudge the prize of victory, that is, preside, moderate, and rule. And if between you there arise controversy or difference, let the peace of Christ, not anger, or pride, or passon, determine it. In this sense the word is understood by Saint Chrysostom and Theodoret, and this is the sense of the Syriac: Let the peace of Christ govern your hearts. For you all form one body, and the portions of one and the same body do not fight one with another. In peace, therefore, you are called. And be grateful, in the Syriac, give thanks to God. Saint Jerome, however, as quoted by Erasmus, understands it gracious, amiable, kind and easy, for this contributes to peace. Let the word of Christ (Col 3:16), that is the teaching of Christ, which you have received from Epaphras and other instructors, dwell in your minds and hearts habitually and abundantly, so as to make you rich in all wisdom, often speaking of it to one another. The words with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs may perhaps be more fitly taken with the participle cantantes (“singing”) which follows them. For the distinction between these see on Eph. 5:19, 20. Singing in grace, that is, in thanksgiving, or otherwise, with sweetness, care, and correctness, so as to give pleasure to yourselves and those who hear you. In your hearts, that is, with your hearts, heartily, sincerely, not with the voice only, and the heart not in harmony with what you sing. In all you say or do, in word or work (Col 3:17), invoke the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, not the names of angels, like the followers of Simon; and through him, and not through angels, give thanks to God the Father. So Theodoret and Saint Chrysostom understand it. Saint Thomas says that the precept is also to be taken in a directly affirmative sense, but that to fulfil it, it is not necessary that everything should be formally and in act referred to God, but in the habit of the mind, and is satisfied when our words and deeds are such as to promote God’s glory. Whoever acts or speaks against the glory or the commands of God, acts in opposition to this precept of the Apostle. The perfection of charity is when all things are actually, or at least effectually, referred to God’s glory in the name and power of Christ. For then all we do.will be God’s praise, and pious and meritorious in his sight. Do all through Christ, as your mediator and pontiff; with Christ, as your head; in Christ, in his spirit, motive, and intention.

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Father de Piconio’s Commentary on Colossians 2:4-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

4. But I say this, that no one deceive you in sublimity of language.
5. For although in the body I am absent from you, yet in spirit I am with you, rejoicing and seeing your order, and the steadfastness of your faith which is in Christ.
6. For as you received Jesus Christ the Lord, in him walk,
7. Rooted and built up in him, and strengthened in faith, as also you have learned, abounding in him in thanksgiving.
8. See that none deceive you through philosophy and empty fallacy; according to the tradition of men, according to the elements of the world, and not according to Christ.
9. Because in him dwells all the plenitude of deity in the body.
10. And you are fulfilled in him, who is the head of all principality and power.

I say this (Col 2:4), namely, that all wisdom and science (i.e., knowledge) dwells in Christ, because I know how greatly your faith is endangered by the teachers of error, who are endeavouring to deceive you with the pompous and imposing terms of their philosophy. The Greek has, with plausible or persuasive words. It is true that I am separated from you by long distance (Col 2:5), but I am present by full cognizance, perhaps supernatural cognizance, of all the malice of these wicked men, and the arguments they employ, and could expose them if I chose. This, St. Chrysostom thinks, was what the Apostle was about to say, but considering the hint sufficient, he concludes the sentence with an encomium of the Colossians. The enemy has not routed your ranks as yet. I rejoice to see you, being in spirit present among you, drawn up in unbroken phalanx against the enemy, and your faith still firm and unshaken (Col 2:6). The creed you were taught by Epaphras, that Jesus Christ is your Creator, Redeemer, Meditator, in this walk, or persevere. Christ is the way; walk in this way, which leads to life. Christ is the root (Col 2:7); adhere to him, and from him draw the life of your souls. Christ is the foundation; on this foundation build your faith and hope. What the tree is without root, the house without foundation, man is without Christ. Cling to the faith as you have been taught it, and abound in it (the Greek has it), that is, make progress in Christian grace, and rejoice with thanksgiving for the privilege you have received, the hope to which you look forward. Then the Apostle repeats the caution already given in verse 4. See that none deceive you (Col 2:8). The Greek has plunder you, the Syriac and Arabic, rob and spoil you; Saint Chrysostom interprets “rob you and steal your faith away.” Through philosophy and empty fallacy, or deceit. The system taught by Simon appears to have contained many expressions borrowed or translated from the language of the magian philosophers of the east, which Saint Paul calls sublimitate sermonum (“sublimity of language”) in verse 4, and legends and fables about angels and aeons, the object of which was to substitute the adoration of these imaginary powers for the worship of Christ. All this was human tradition. The traditions of paganism, however distorted, were at least derived originally from primaeval truth, known to man by revelation from God in the earliest ages of the world (a highly controverted theory), but the magian philosophy was from its beginning human invention and nothing else, and founded in mere imposture. Such as it was, however, it had widely influenced the philosophies of western lands, and formed in Saint Paul’s days the elements of the instruction of the learned world. It was this system, reproduced by Simon (i.e., Simon Magus, see Acts 8:9 ff) under some new phrases, intended to pass it off as the religion of Christ, which Saint Paul speaks of 1Tim. 6:20, as that which they falsely call their gnosis, or knowledge. It is not according to Christ, is radically opposed to all his teaching. For in Christ all the pleroma (fullness) of Deity corporeally dwells (Col 2:9). This word pleroma is a well-known term of the magian philosophy, and signifies the aggregate of all the great spiritual intelligences which govern the world, and of which they admitted Christ to be one. As in their system, the Supreme Being was non-existent, the pleroma, was the supreme object of their cultus and adoration. This is not
the doctrine of Christ ; for in Christ the whole pleroma, or fulness of Deity, dwells and is from eternity inherent corporeally. The word corporeally is not here opposed to spiritually, but to figuratively. Not in figure, as of old in the propitiatory, but truly, really, and substantially. Not by operation, but in substance. Not by grace only, as in holy angels and men, but by hypostatic union. Not in his soul only, but in his body also. The divine Person of the Word is united with the human nature by a double bond, one spiritual, which unites his human soul with the Word; the other corporeal, which to the same Divine Word unites his body. Therefore in Christ dwells, or eternally inheres, all wisdom, science, truth, because he is God. And with this wisdom, you, in your degree, as members depending on the Head, are also filled (Col 2:10). He is not an angel or an aeon, but the Head of all the principalities and powers that reign in heaven. And since in Him dwells and remains all the plenitude of Deity, and the plenitude of wisdom, it is to Him that you should have recourse, not to angels, otherwise you will be forsaking the Lord and King for the ministers and servants.

11. In whom also you were circumcised with circumcision not done by hand, in the despoiling of the body of the flesh; but in the circumcision of Christ:
12. Buried together with him in Baptism, in which you also rose again through faith of the operation of God who raised him from the dead.
13. And you, when you were dead in sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has with him quickened to life, forgiving you all sins.
14. Blotting out what was against us, the writing of the decree; which was contrary to us, and took it from the midst, affixing it to the cross.
15. And stripping the principalities and the powers paraded them boldly, leading them openly in triumph in himself.

The heretics, while rejecting the law of Moses, and the God who was its Author, affected to adhere to some of its ceremonies, and among them the rite of circumcision (Col 2:11), chiefly out of opposition to the teaching of the Apostles, and were endeavouring to unsettle the minds of the Colossian Christians on this point, as well as on some others referred to below. In his reply, Saint Paul tells the Colossians that they have no need of external circumcision. You have already been circumcised, not by the rite done by human hands, the excision of a portion of the flesh of the material body, but with the circumcision of Christ, or which was instituted by Christ. And he goes on to explain in the next verse what this is (Col 2:12). With Christ you have been buried in Baptism, the immersion in the water figuring the burial of Christ; with him you are risen again, which was signified by the emersion from it. And this through faith, the principal condition required; indeed the only condition absolutely and imperatively required for Baptism, being the profession of the faith of the Catholic Church. This profession had to be publicly made
before the assembled congregation, and the symbol, or credo, differing slightly in its form in different countries, was expressly drawn up for this use and purpose. But the faith of the Church is substantially and by inference summed up and implied in one article of belief, faith in the operation of God in Christ’s resurrection from the dead. For if this is true, it puts the seal upon all Christ’s teaching when on earth, and all the teaching of the Apostles and the successors of their ministry, since his ascension into heaven. The reality of this resurrection is what the heretics deny; you are Christians because you believe it true. Pagans as you were, dead in sins (Col 2:13), involved in the guilt of actual mortal sin, and helplessly enthralled to the concupiscences of the flesh, it is nevertheless perfectly true, and you are required to believe this, and entitled to rejoice in the certainty of the belief, that God has by your Baptism given you a new and real spiritual life, as real and true as the life to which Christ rose from the grave and lives for evermore, and all the sins of your former lives are in the waters of Baptism as completely and absolutely washed away as if they had never been, and you can be quite secure that they will not be brought up against you at the last great day. Saint Paul insists on this forgiveness of sins, because it is the central argument of this Epistle, which was mainly written to reassure the Colossian Christians, who had been rendered, or were in danger of being rendered, anxious and uneasy regarding it, by the cavils of the crafty opponents of the faith. You require no circumcision, and no initiation into any hidden system of philosophy. God has in truth raised you to life, donans vobis omnia delicta. All sin, actual and original. In the day thou eatest, thou shalt die death, was the terrible decree that sounded in the ears of our first father in Paradise, Gen. 2:17. And to this decree (Col 2:14) we, each one of the human race, every child of Adam born into the world, have severally set our own sign-manual, the handwriting on the decree, by the actual sin which we have severally added to the guilt of the original transgression. But this damning bond, this recognition under our own hands of the awful debt we had incurred, and must have paid, Christ has cancelled, torn up, blotted out, taken out of the midst, conveyed out of court. It was against us, contrary to us, must have condemned us; he has taken it away by his death, and affixed it to the cross. Temporal death still remains, but is changed into a blessing, for it is the gate of salvation; death eternal we have not to fear, for Christ has taken away the sentence, with our acceptance plainly written on it, and nailed it to his cross. Grotius says it was the custom to nail antiquated edicts to a cross, as a public notification that they were no longer in force; but undoubtedly the reference of the Apostle is to the cross on which Christ suffered, and by his death took away the sin of the world. And after the victory came the triumph. He carried with him into heaven, and will finally and fully do so at the last day, the spoils of the principalities and powers of darkness (Col 2:15), (those very angels whom the heretics direct you to adore,) the souls of men redeemed from hell, their bodies raised from the grave. And in this continued procession of triumph, to the end of the world, the evil spirits, the tempters of mankind, are led captive, chained to the chariot wheel of their exulting conqueror, exhibited to God, to angels, and to men, openly baffled and defeated. Pagan worship and pagan vice gave way to the love and adoration of Christ. Triumphing over them in himself, for by his own power and merit alone the victory was won. There is another and more ordinary interpretation of this passage, which supposes the Apostle to refer to the law of Moses as the handwriting of the decree, which Christ removed and nailed to the cross. But the Colossian Christians, to whom this was addressed, were converts from Paganism, and never subject to the Mosaic ceremonial law, nor is there, in any other part of the Epistle, anything directly controverting the obligation of obedience to it. And in this sense it is difficult to assign an intelligible meaning to the words chirographum decreti (literally, handwriting of the decrees”), or as the Greek signifies, decretis. The explanation given above is in substance that of Saint Chrysostom, who says that the Apostle nowhere else uses language so sublime.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 2:6-15

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 2, 2013

This post opens with the Bishop’s brief analysis of Colossians chapter 2, followed by his comments on Colossians 2:6-15. Text in purple indicates his paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on.

ANALYSIS OF COLOSSIANS CHAPTER 2

The Apostle commences this chapter by expressing his anxious solicitude for the Colossians, as also the object of this solicitude, which was to afford them the consolation that would result from their close union in the bonds of charity, and their perfect knowledge of the leading truths of Christian faith (1, 2).

He next cautions them against the deceitful wiles of the false teachers, both Gentiles and Judaizers. Against the former, he shows that Christ is the great fountain of all knowledge (3.) He encourages the Colossians to guard against their false reasoning, and by closely adhering to Christ, to persevere in the faith and Christian life, which they had embraced (4–8). He points out the means which the Gnostics would employ to seduce them from the faith, viz., false and erroneous philosophy, opposed to the true principles of Christian faith. These false principles of Pagan philosophy, they should reject, and have recourse to Christ, in whom, as God, was eminently contained all knowledge, who is also the ruler of all the hosts of angels, and, therefore, to be adored before them (8–10). Against the Jewish zealots, who proclaimed the necessity of circumcision, and the legal ceremonies, he reminds the Colossians that the circumcision which they received in baptism as far surpassed that of the Jews, as the reality exceeds the sign (11, 12).

He ascends to the source of their spiritual blessings, viz., redemption through Christ, and graphically describes the mode in which redemption was accomplished, and the triumph which Christ achieved over the whole hosts of demons, driving them before his triumphal car, as so many trophies of victory (13, 14, 15). From the foregoing he infers, that the Colossians should pay attention neither to the Judaizers, who endeavoured to turn them aside from these real blessings to vain, empty shadows (16, 17), nor to the Simonians or Gnostics, who encouraged the false worship of angels (18)—and adhered not to Christ, the head of the Church, from whom she derived all graces (19). He concludes the chapter, by mildly rebuking the Colossians for attending to the false teaching of either the Gnostics or Judaizers.

Col 2:6  As therefore you have received Jesus Christ the Lord, walk ye in him:

 As, then, you have been instructed in Christ Jesus; so persevere in his doctrine and in the observance of his precepts;

“Jesus Christ the Lord.” In Greek, Christ Jesus the Lord. He tells them to persevere in the faith of Christ, taught them by Epaphras, at their conversion. See Col 1:3-8.

Col 2:7  Rooted and built up in him and confirmed in the faith, as also you have learned: abounding in him in thanksgiving.

Having been engrafted on him as the stock and root, and reared on him as the foundation, and confirmed in the faith which you have learned; nay, advancing in grace and faith, with thanksgiving for so many distinguished favours.

Under a twofold similitude of a tree, and of an edifree, the Apostle represents their close connexion with Christ. He is the foundation: they, the superstructure, He is the root, and the stock; they, the tree or branches. This verse is connected with the preceding, thus: persevere in his doctrine, &c., having been ingrafted on him, &c., so as to increase and advance in faith and grace with thanksgiving.

“Abounding in him.” In Greek, abounding in it. The Vulgate reading is found in some of the chief manuscripts.

Col 2:8  Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ.

 (Since, then, by ceasing to be in connexion with Christ, you would be as so many trees without roots, edifices without foundations); Take care, lest any person deceive you, and rob you of your faith, by the display of false philosophy, which is no better than empty fallacy, calculated to impose upon us; the teachings of which are not derived from the authority of God, but founded on the corrupt and false opinions of men, and grounded on elementary principles either false in themselves, or falsely applied, and altogether at variance with the doctrine of Christ, and, therefore, to be rejected.

The philosophy condemned here by the Apostle is not the science of philosophy, the knowledge of human things derived, by legitimate reasoning, from certain fixed principles; he only condemns the false and erroneous systems of Pagan philosophy, wherein were contained the most monstrous errors in matters appertaining to God and religion. It was a philosophy which, in reference to religion, was nothing but “vain deceit,” which inculcated systems of belief, founded only on the corrupt inventions of men, transmitted from generation to generation; founded on elementary axioms, either false or falsely applied, and outstripping the proper limits to which they could be applied. See, for example, the abuse which they made of the logical axiom, quæ sunt eadem uni tertio, sunt eadem inter se, in reference to the mystery of the Trinity. See, also, the moral axiom current with the philosophers, expedit populos decipi in negotio religionis. The “elements of the world,” may, according to some, refer to the carnal outward precepts of the ceremonial law of the Jews, in which sense, the word “elements” is employed, chapter 4 verse 3, of the Epistle to the Galatians (Gal 4:3); in this interpretation, he is here alluding, partly, to the errors of the Judaizantes.

“But not according to Christ.” In this, he condemns the system of religion introduced by the Gnostics and Judaizantes; because, they were opposed to the purity of the gospel.

“Beware lest any man cheat you.” The Greek for “cheat,” συλαγωγων, means, to despoil, or lead away captive.

Col 2:9  For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead corporeally.

Let no one seduce you from Christ: for, in him, the entire plenitude of the Godhead dwells, really and substantially, or personally, in a manner somewhat resembling the dwelling of the soul in the body.

The Apostle assigns the reason, why they should follow Christ, as teacher, in preference to those opposed to him, viz., because he is God: and hence, in him are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. He adds this rather than repeat the third verse, because it is the truth announced in this verse, viz., that Christ is God, which verifies verse 3. Hence, no other is to be heard before him. “Corporally,” i.e., personally. The divine Person has really assumed the human nature of Christ, so that the divine Person is alone the Person of this perfect humanity.

Col 2:10  And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power.

 And you are abundantly filled by him with all gifts and knowledge necessary for salvation without recurring to the law of Moses or the philosophy of the Gnostics. And he is the head, the ruler and master of all the angels, and hence, to be adored in preference to them.

“Who is the head of all principality and power.” He is the head of all the good angels, represented by the two orders referred to, inasmuch as he is their Lord, and rules them, to promote their happiness. This is added by the Apostle in opposition to the Gnostics, who inculcated the adoration of angels. This verse is more fully expressed (Ephesians, 1).

Col 2:11  In whom also you are circumcised with circumcision not made by hand in despoiling of the body of the flesh: but in the circumcision of Christ.

 In whom, also, you have received circumcision, not like the Jewish circumcision, made by hands consisting merely in taking away the foreskin from the body of the flesh, but a spiritual circumcision, consisting in the destruction of sin, and of sinful passions, of which the circumcision among the Jews was but a mere type or figure.

He cautions them against the Jewish zealots, who endeavoured to superadd the rite of circumcision to the Christian religion, and says, we have a circumcision which as far surpasses that in use among the Jews, as the reality, or thing signified, exceeds the sign and the figure. In the Greek, the particle, “but,” is omitted, and the word “sins,” added to the preceding clause, thus: in despoiling of the body (of the sins) of the flesh, in the circumcision of Christ; a reading, according to which, the entire verse is understood without any antithesis of the circumcision of Christ, thus: by whom you were circumcised with a circumcision not made by hands, which consists in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, in other words, in entirely laying aside the old man of sin, which is the circumcision of Christ, and not of Moses. This is a very probable interpretation.

Col 2:12  Buried with him in baptism: in whom also you are risen again by the faith of the operation of God who hath raised him up from the dead.

You received this spiritual Christian circumcision, when in receiving baptism you were buried, and consequently dead to your sins, with Christ, in which baptism also, while emerging from its waters, you rose to a new spiritual life of grace, of which spiritual resurrection, faith in the omnipotence of him who raised Christ from the dead is required as a necessary condition.

He shows how this circumcision is effected by baptism. The immersion in baptism—the form, in which it was conferred in the time of the Apostle—is a type of our burial, and consequently of our death to sin, which death to sin it also operates as well as signifies; and the emersion from the waters of baptism is also a type of our spiritual resurrection to a life of grace, which resurrection it also effects, requiring as a condition, faith in the omnipotence of him who raised Christ from the dead.

Col 2:13  And you, when you were dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he hath quickened together with him, forgiving you all offences:

And you, when dead in your sins, both actual and original, together with the passions flowing from original sin, were raised by him to spiritual life, by an effort of the same power by which he raised Christ from the dead, pardoning all your sins, through his merits.

When they were dead in their actual and original sins as well as in all the evils flowing from original sin, he raised them spiritually, with Christ, and made them desert their former vicious ways, and live to God, “and the uncircumcision of your flesh,” the sign, for the thing signified, the foreskin, for original sin, and the evils following from it.

Col 2:14  Blotting out the handwriting of the decree that was against us, which was contrary to us. And he hath taken the same out of the way, fastening it to the cross.

Having first blotted out and abolished the sentence of eternal death, which had been recorded against us all, by the decree of God after the sin of Adam, and the same sentence he took out of the way and annulled, by nailing it to his cross, i.e., destroying it, by the atonement and satisfaction which he made on the cross.

In this verse, some Expositors say, there is reference to the abolition of the obligation which every Jew had contracted to observe the law of Moses. Hence, by “handwriting” they understood the liability to observe “the decree,” or Mosaic law. Others, following the Greek reading, which is, τοῖς δόγμασιν, by decrees, understood it to have the same meaning that it has in the passage to the Ephesians (2:15), “the law of commandments in decrees,” which refers to the abolition of the ceremonies of the Mosaic law, and the substituting of “the decrees,” or precepts of the Christian faith, in their stead. This interpretation, however, does not well accord with the next verse; for, how can it follow from his abolishing the Mosaic ceremonial law, that he was “despoiling principalities,” &c.? (15). Besides, the Mosaic law is never called a “decree;” and if we desert the Vulgate reading, to which the Ethiopic version is conformable, and read, “by decrees,” we must confine it to the Jews; whereas, it is clear that the Apostle refers to all, by saying, “you,” verse 13, “us,” this verse. Hence, the common interpretation is far the more probable, which makes “handwriting” refer to the liability to eternal death pronounced against us by the “decree” of God after the sin of Adam, of which, by an unsearchable judgment of God, we were all made sharers; and this liability or sentence is called “a handwriting,” either because we ourselves, by actual sin, subscribed to the justice of this sentence of punishment, or probably, to signify that it is as certain against us as is the debt against the debtor, whose bond or note of hand is in the possession of the creditors. “Fastening it to the cross;” this refers to the ancient custom of annulling bonds or covenants, by driving a nail through them. Hence, the words may be translated, driving a nail through it by his cross, i.e., by the satisfaction made on the cross. All this, therefore, refers to the atonement which Christ made for the sins of all mankind, by his death on the cross.

Col 2:15  And despoiling the principalities and powers, he hath exposed them confidently in open shew, triumphing over them in himself.

And stripping the entire host of infernal spirits, who were to be the executioners in carrying out this decree, of the dominion and power they had over man, he exposed them publicly to the gaze and derision of men and angels, triumphing over them thus prostrate and vanquished, by his own power.

These words are very expressive of Christ’s triumph over his prostrate enemies; he first stripped them of the power which they had over mankind, during the time that this sentence of death was hanging over their heads. He afterwards publicly exposed them to derision, dragging them after his triumphal car, or rather driving them before it, as so many trophies of victory. This public exposure of the devils is now made before angels and men, who see it by faith; but it will be evidently seen, on the great day of judgment. The two orders, of “principalities” and “powers,” are put for all the orders of demons. There is but one word in the Greek corresponding with the words “confidently” and “open show,” εν παρρησια. The word, however, bears both the significations, given to it in our English version, after the Vulgate.

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 1:21-23

Posted by Dim Bulb on September 1, 2013

Col 1:21  And you, whereas you were some time alienated and enemies in mind in evil works:

And you, when you were alienated at one time from God—nay, enemies in your hearts and minds, offending him by your evil deeds, by your wicked and impious lives:

He now in a special manner applies to the Colossians what he had spoken generally in reference to all (beginning in verse 12). They were aliens to the divine promises and benefits, and enemies to God in their minds, by their own wills, which was shown by their bad works, and their wicked lives.

Col 1:22  Yet now he hath reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unspotted and blameless before him:

He has reconciled now by death, endured in his natural body of flesh, that he might exhibit you to his Father as holy and blameless, free from censure before men, and irreproachable before God himself.

“In the body of his flesh,” not in his mystical body. Hence, their reconciliation was not effected by angels, as the Gnostics affirmed; but by the death of Christ endured in his body of flesh; or, natural body. These words clearly refute the class of early heretics who asserted that Christ assumed not a real but a fantastical body.

Col 1:23  If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immoveable from the hope of the gospel which you have heard, which is preached in all the creation that is under heaven: whereof I Paul am made a minister.

You will be thus holy and irreproachable, provided, however, you remain firm and unshaken in your faith, and persevere unchangeably in the hope of the good things promised by the gospel, which you heard preached amongst you, the same that is preached to every creature under heaven, whether Jew or Gentile, of which gospel, I, Paul, am constitued by God the minister.

He will exhibit them as holy and irreproachable, provided they hold to the faith, and persevere in the hope of heavenly blessings, promised to them by the gospel preached throughout the world. He adds this, probably, in order to disprove the calumnious charge which the false teachers made against Epaphras, whose gospel they asserted to be different from that preached by the Apostles. St. Paul, in character of Apostle, and with the full weight of Apostolic authority, asserts, in refutation of this calumny, that the gospel preached by Epaphras, and by the Apostles all over the earth, perfectly coincided.

 

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Bishop MacEvilly’s Commentary on Colossians 1:9-14

Posted by Dim Bulb on August 31, 2013

Text in red, if any, are my additions. Text in purple indicates the Bishop’s paraphrasing of the scripture he is commenting on. To read the Bishop’s brief introductory analysis of Colossians chapter 1, go here.

Col 1:9  Therefore we also, from the day that we heard it, cease not to pray for you and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding:

 Therefore, as soon as we heard of your faith and charity, we ceased not praying to God for you, and supplicating him to fill you with a more perfect knowledge of his holy will, by bestowing upon you the gifts of all knowledge and spiritual understanding.

“With the knowledge of his will,” may mean, the general will of God, regarding them, the great rule to which they should conform their lives; or “the will of God,” in reference to the mode in which he has been pleased to save man, viz., by the death of his Son, and not by angels. And this extended knowledge they will acquire more perfectly by “spiritual wisdom,” i.e., by knowing the mysteries of faith on principles of faith, and “understanding,” knowing them by human illustrations; or “wisdom,” may mean the speculative knowledge of the truths of faith, and “understanding,” the knowledge of applying these truths and principles to the practical detail of their lives.

Col 1:10  That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God:

That you may live in a manner becoming sons of God and followers of Christ, so as to please God in all things, producing the fruit of every kind of good works, and advancing and progressing more and more in the knowledge of God.

“Worthy of God.” In Greek, worthy of the Lord. “In all things pleasing,” in Greek, unto all pleasing. He explains in the following words, how they will walk worthy of God and please him; it is by omitting no opportunity of performing good works, which he calls “fruitful,” because as the fruits of the earth preserve our temporal life, so do good works ensure our eternal life.

Col 1:11  Strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy,

 That strengthened with perfect power, which came from the operation of his glorious omnipotence alone, you may endure all crosses with patience, with long-suffering, and with joy.

He also prays without ceasing, that fortified with perfect spiritual strength, through the glorious power of God, they would be patient and forbearing in adversity, and even receive it with joy, “according to the power of his glory,” i.e., his glorious power. God’s omnipotence is never so glorious as in rendering those omnipotent who hope in him, says St. Bernard. “Patience” is exercised in bearing those afflictions which we cannot revenge; “longanimity,” in bearing with those which we can punish. “With joy.” The patient endurance of crosses is more magnanimous than the performance of the most heroic actions. “Romanorum est fortia facere, Christianorum fortia pati,” out to bear severe trials, not only with patience but with joy, is peculiarly Christian. The basic meaning and intent of the Latin phrase seems to be: it is Roman to do brave deed, Christian to suffer bravely. The first part of the phrase probably originated in reference to Roman soldiers.

Col 1:12  Giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light:

We give thanks to God the Father, who, of his pure mercy and grace, has vouchsafed to make us sharers by the light of faith in the inheritance of the saints, which consists in light, or the beatific vision of God.

“Giving thanks to God the Father.” The Greek omits, God. Some persons connects this verse with verse 9, thus: “we cease not praying God to grant you this grace also of thanking him for having called you,” &c. According to the connexion in the Paraphrase, a new sentence is commenced, and St. Paul having concluded his petitions in the preceding verse, now thanks God for the benefits here enumerated. “The lot of the saints,” τοῦ κληρου τῶν ἁγ ων. Eternal life is called a “lot,” to express its gratuitousness, and the absence of strict claim on our part signified by the absence of a claim on the part of those who gain a thing by casting lots. And though we merit eternal life; still, it is primarily founded on grace. In crowning our merits, he only crowns his own gifts.—St. Augustine (from his Treatise ON GRACE AND FREE WILL). “In light.” The light of faith here, or the light of glory hereafter, by which we shall see God, face to face. “It may, however, denote both, as in Paraphrase.”

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love,

Who has rescued us from the power of darkness, i.e., of demons and infidels, and translated us to the kingdom, i.e., the Church of his beloved Son here, which is the portal to the kingdom of heaven hereafter.

“Darkness,” taken in a moral sense in SS. Scripture, denotes evil; hence, it means here, the power of the devil, the prince of darkness. “The Son of his love,” a Hebraism, for his most beloved Son.

Col 1:14  In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins:

 Through whom we have obtained redemption, which consists in the remission of our sins, and which he effected by giving his blood by way of ransom or price for us.

In the following verses the Apostle claims for Christ, the titles of Creator and Redeemer, the two grand prerogatives of which the Simonians attempted to deprive him, and which they wished to transfer to angels. In this verse, he claims for Him the title of Redeemer, upon which he dilates more fully at verse 20—after claiming for him the title of Creator in the intervening verses, 16, 17, 18, 19. The words “through his blood,” are not in the Douay-Rheims Version, made from the Sixtine Edition of the Vulgate, nor in the Codex Vaticanus, nor in MSS. or Versions generally.

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